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Lab design has, to some degree, followed some of the same trends as office design. After all, issues such as ergonomics, sustainability, efficiency, and comfort are as important to scientists as they are to office assistants or executives. But for those studying things like mumps outbreaks, cancer, rotator-cuff injuries, or depression, how the lab is built can also affect research.

Collaboration and efficiency — and the design that encourages them — are raising hopes for better scientific results.


Four teams of researchers occupy the lab at the Novartis-Penn Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies in an eight-story building on Penn Medicine’s campus in Philadelphia. In one lab, researchers are working on a cancer treatment called CAR-T therapy, which takes a patient’s own cells and genetically modifies them into so-called hunter cells that target and kill cancer cells.

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